So you are spring-cleaning and want to know how to wash a house? The proper technique should involve using one hand to rub the back of the other and clean in between fingers before rubbing the back of your fingers against your palms. Once your hands are wet, turn off the water with your wrist or elbow and lather up with soap for at least 20 seconds.

Unlike washing hands with soap and water, sanitizer doesn't remove all harmful germs on your hands. A 2017 study that compared liquid and foam soaps from the same brand found that washing with foam didn't significantly reduce bacteria on the hands of people who were in the study, while washing with a liquid soap did.

For the study, participants put on gloves then washed their hands in a harmless virus called MS2. Another physician, Dr. Oliver Wendell Homes, also supported hand washing to prevent childbed fever. Hand washing 101: Wet your hands with warm, running water, apply soap, then lather, and be sure to rub them briskly with soap for a minimum of 15 seconds.

The idea of handwashing, she said, is not to kill the germs, but to remove them from your hand. In Shakespeare 's Macbeth , Lady Macbeth begins to compulsively wash hands happy birthday her hands in an attempt to cleanse an imagined stain, representing her guilty conscience regarding crimes she had committed and induced her husband to commit.

Guinan M, McGuckin M, Ali Y. The effect of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary schools. If your hands are visibly dirty, old-school soap and water is the way to go, because the action of rubbing and rinsing dislodges bacteria and viruses.

Washing your hands is your front-line defense against a host of illnesses, not just coronavirus, but be honest: You're likely not doing it long enough or often enough. As a doctor, I have to be really careful about keeping my hands clean and avoid spreading viruses from patient to patient.
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